For clarification, this list exclusively lists manga I have personally read. Therefore, I won’t be listing anything like Berserk or Vinland Saga. I love art and exploring different mediums within comics and manga. Those featured in this list are listed in alphabetical order. I don’t have the heart to pit them against each other in a competition.
Let’s get started!
Bleach, Artist Tite Kubo
No matter what anyone says against Bleach, Kubo did an phenominal job drawing this manga. Each chapter heading, even from the first volume, is cool. Characters are the gears of any story and he had a way of bringing them to life with his art.
Would I buy an artbook for this series? Definitely yes. Do they exist? Yes!
Daytime Shooting Star, artist Mika Yamamori
Those who have gone through my other posts know this manga has come up A LOT. It will pop up in the future as well. I guarantee it. I’m not sorry. Now, why did I include it here on an art list? Yamamori is one of the most consistent character artists I’ve come across. She is especially gifted in how she draws hands and eyes. Aesthetically, this series pops because of her character designs and how she carries through with them till the end of the series.
D. Gray-Man Man, artist Katsuro Hoshino
D.Grayman ALMOST made it onto my underrated manga list. If not for its anime series and bigger following I would say it definitely deserves more attention. As for the art, it is GORGEOUS. From the amazing manga covers and character designs as the series progressed, her art just pops for me. Hoshino is also great at sequencing action scenes. From the get-go, her manga has maintained a higher quality.
Also, her art books are phenomenal. They are on my to buy list.
Fullmetal Alchemist, artist Hiromu Arikawa
People gush about Fullmetal Alchemist often. It’s for good reason. For me, one of this series’ highlights is the artwork. Specifically, Arakawa’s fluid designs and knowledge of human anatomy fascinates me. Of all the manga artists, Arakawa is the most similar to me in personality, especially in how much research she did for this series.
I also want to own the art books for this series. (You see the pattern. I need to buy these art books but don’t have the heart because of MONEY. So sad).
Immortal Rain, artist Kaori Ozaki
Kaori Ozaki draws amazing character profiles. Even outside this series, her works consistently feature well-balanced designs. As for Immortal Rain, her artwork blossomed throughout the story, featuring beautiful human caricatures and striking details in the backgrounds and sequencing. I did not mention this in my Underrated Manga Post, but her talent as a story writer and artist is underappreciated.
Mushishi, artist Yuki Urishibara
Because Mushishi is recognizably one of the most beautiful anime, specifically in its backgrounds, the manga is a little undervalued. This is rather foolhardy because Urushibara has a very distinct, earthy quality to her artwork. Throughout her ten volumes, she created such a vibrant view of Old Japan, disconnected from the modern world.
Natsume’s Book of Friends, artist Yuki Midorikawa
Much like Mushishi, Natsume’s Book of Friends has an ethereal feel to it. Yuki Midorikawa’s brush strokes feel like Japanese calligraphy, and her chapter headings have a beautiful watercolor feel.
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, artist Hayao Miyazaki
One of the reasons Miyazaki’s movies are appreciated worldwide is because of their artistic quality. Miyazaki, though viewed primarily as a director, is really at heart an artist. Over twelve years, he drew an extended manga covering his first film from 1984. truly, Miyazaki is an incredible artist. It is hard to convey the depth of his talent through the few pictures I could find. To truly experience it, it is best to read the manga in full.
One Punch Man
I love the first season for One Punch Man. Its’ animation and comedy are great. The manga is definitely undervalued in light of the anime. The original story is by ONE, who has great ideas but limited artistic ability. Therefore, for the manga, Eyeshield 21‘s Yusuke Mirata stepped up as the primary artist.
Dang. His drawings have DEPTH and amazing shadowing. He was the right choice as this iconic story’s artist. Of all the artist’s I searched for, his art pieces were the easiest to find.
Pandora Hearts, artist Jun Mochizuki
I am a sucker for Alice in Wonderland parodies. Pandora Hearts‘ artwork, much like D.Grayman, is definitely a major highlight of the series. Of all the manga on this list, Mochizuki’s artwork is probably the most likely to find its way into an Anglophile’s personal library. (Much like Black Butler). Basically, lovers of Tim Burton-esque Hot Topic fans.
Personally, I simply admire Mochizuki’s coloring for her art book features, designs, and manga backgrounds.
Psyren, artist Toshiaki Iwashiro
Psyren was the hardest to find the right feature artworks. (Another sign it is underrated). Iwashiro is one of the best worldbuilders I’ve seen, especially in his backgrounds. He puts such amazing detail into the setting, it comes to life. Another highlight is his character designs. He is best at drawing hands and teeth.
Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE, artist CLAMP
Magical. CLAMP’s artwork throughout Tsubasa, and their other works, is simply magical. I feel like I can drink in the manga like an exquisite three-course meal. I love how they do hair, clothing, and staging. Literally, any piece from their artbook could go on the wall.
The Girl From the Other Side, artist Nagabe
Nagabe’s artwork for The Girl From the Other Side shines differently than any manga I’ve listed. It reminds me somewhat of the artwork featured in Patrick Ness’s A Monster Calls, with its heavy shadowing. It could be mistaken for artwork commissioned for Edgar Allen Poe’s short stories. It’s Gothic and beautiful.
Vampire Knight, artist Matsuri Hino
I have conflicting feelings about Vampire Knight. Its story and the odd ending really threw me for a loop when I finally got the courage to read it. Honestly, it’s not a great story. But its artwork is breathtaking. When I found its artbook in Barnes and Noble, its beautiful colored pictures surprised me. I expected to hate it. Now, I admire her visual artistry despite her struggles writing good stories.
The Way of the House Husband, artist Kousuke Oono
Hot dang Oono is a great artist! Not only does he draw amazingly accurate character designs, but his staging and use of light and shadowing also enhance the series’ comedic effect. The first time I read it, I was in awe of his drawings and surprised it was his first released manga.
Thank you for reading! See you tomorrow.